Sunday, April 14, 2019

Goodbye Star



THE EVIL BRAIN FROM OUTER SPACE-1964/1957-58-The Brain of Balazar from an alien planet plans to take over the Earth. Once again the strange inhabitants of The Emerald Planet decided that if Earth is destroyed it might have an adverse effect on them so they send Starman (Ken Utsui, of course) into the fray. It begins when a evil scientist in a wheelchair with a bird on his shoulder who's in league with the brain. He has a sinister one legged henchman. His assistant Kawada steals the brain intent on destroying it. Unfortunately the police think he's a bank robber and in the scuffle to arrest him, a briefcase containing the brain is thrown into the river. He has a hard time convincing police detective Okamoto this is true but is later released and goes to a famous doctor for help. After Starman intervenes and vows to stop the aliens, Kawada returns to his former employer's house to try and find the brain (the evil doctor regained it but I'm not sure how Tawada found out). The detective follows him and after Kawada is knocked out by the henchman he sees the doc (who can actually walk) and one leg escape underground. The aliens send a weird monster with long claws to kill the famous doctor who's working on a formula to destroy the brain. Star saves him. Meanwhile the invaders commit many robberies to get money to pay for their food and clothes (?) and stab a woman in the neck to get some diamonds. 

Despite aliens running rampant, a scientist takes some important papers home to study and walks down a dark alley unescorted while two children return home from a party at night also unaccompanied! The scientist is killed but the children hide when confronted by a insidious alien woman. Star vows to save the Earth and then disguises himself as a “political dignitary” and stops and assassination attempt by the evil doc and his gang. Later the doc's scar faced brother releases a bunch of mutants to destroy mankind. They are weird guys in sunglasses and trench coats. Fortunately Starman invades their headquarters throws the aliens around, kills two mutants and finds the evil brain which is destroyed by the famous doctor's formula! Starman waves goodbye forever....

This was the fourth of the US edited series taken and combined from 7th and 8th episodes of Super Giant. A ninth film was made but that was in color and couldn't be used with the black and white footage. Both of these film had 2 separate plots (for instance the scarred brother in the original story was disfigured by the H-bomb) and editing it all together makes it a fast paced confused jumble of fighting, talking, scientific explanations and kids getting into trouble! A classic!

Thanks for reading and much thanks to Shintoho, the studio (a branch of Toho) who made the movies and to Ken Utsui who portrayed the superhero!


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Starman To The Rescue



ATTACK FROM SPACE-1957/1964-Once again the unique inhabitants of The Emerald Planet detects an alien threat to planet Earth which in turn could threaten them and the whole solar system, so they send Starman (once again Ken Utsui) to investigate. The Superians are out to conquer Earth and want a special motor Dr. Yama (Hiroshi Hayashi who had small roles in GODZILLA and SEVEN SAMURAI) and his colleagues are working on. The bad guys kidnap his kids so he'll cooperate. He refuses so they turn him and his kids into mindless slaves. Starman invades their supreme headquarters. Later after the aliens attack Earth several times, the professor's kids and his assistant (their mind control wears off) do some sabotage and Star shows up to shoot and thrown around the dumb aliens in a long fight scene. After beating up the leader he reunites the daughter with the others and they blow up the sinister satellite.

Third in the US edited series this is a mash up of the 5th and 6th Super Giant movies.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Starman Returns



INVADERS FROM SPACE-1957/1964-Starman (Ken Utsui) returns to Earth from his home on the Emerald Planet to find alien salamander men from the planet Kulimon have released a deadly flu like virus on the unsuspecting citizens of Japan while disguised as an avant garde dance troupe! The aliens laugh a lot and try to make several scientists hypnotized slaves with gas emitted through their mouths! They also like to terrorize 3 kids. A scientist's daughter is hung over a sea of acid and later she and her cousins, two brothers are attack by an ugly salamander lady but they destroy her when they accidentally discover a chemical that can kill the invaders. These scenes go on too long though. Starman has a few funny battles with them and they are all destroyed when the police get guns filled with the chemical and kill them.

Second in the US edited series, it's a combo of the 3rd and 4th Super Giant movies.

Thanks for reading!



Sunday, April 7, 2019

Starman Rules!


ATOMIC RULERS-1957/1965-Out in space the unusual inhabitants of “The Emerald Planet” are concerned about the Earth's atomic energy contaminating space. They invent STARMAN (Ken Utsui) out of steel and sent him to Earth. He wears a white jumpsuit with glider wings, has an antenna on his head and an accentuated crotch. He has three special powers: 1) he can fly through space 2) He can detect radiation 3) He can speak and understand any language. He's strong but not Superman strong and is impervious to bullets. He can also disguise himself as an ordinary Japanese human in a suit and tie. He's sent specifically to Japan for two reasons. One, Mongolia plans to use atomic power to rule the world and want to use Japan as an example to the rest of the world and two, this is a Japanese production culled from two movies. Two enemy agents are delivering a detonator but Starman intervenes. During their fight some kids from an orphanage grab the bag containing the detonator and run away but one kid is captured and threatened by one of the spies  (he seems like a child molester to me). Starman goes to the orphanage to retrieve the bag and meets the kids and the nun who runs the place who informs Star that one kid is missing. Also visiting is a police detective and his sister. Star rescues the kid but the bad guys steal the detonator back and take the sister hostage. Eventually all is revealed at a Mongolian embassy banquet and their leader announces his evil plan. Although Starman get the detonator back and seems to thwart their conquest plan he is force to turn it over to the leader when he vows to kill the sister who’s still his prisoner. Later Star invades their headquarters and saves the sister, although they are almost blown up. He beats up everyone else and saves the world.

Called "Super Giant" in Japan, this adventure is culled from the first two movies in the series. The fights are hysterical and the dubbed dialogue is also funny. All of them were directed by Teruo Ishii.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Phil Tucker Returns!



CAPE CANAVERAL MONSTERS-1960-After a car wreck kills a man and woman, balls of light enter each body and they are reanimated as the male Hauron (TV actor Jason Johnson) and the female Nadja (Katherine Victor from Jerry Warren movies), aliens who set up base in cave and destroy rockets the U.S. is launching into space. The bodies they occupy are worst for wear. Nadja's face is scarred and Hauron is missing an arm. Nadja finds the severed limb (“I'll sew it back on when we get to the base”). Later while Hauron is prowling around the test site guard dogs rip his arm off again! (Ever have one of those days?) At Cape Canaveral a grumpy German scientist wonders what's gone wrong and berates his scientist/niece Sally (Linda Connell) and her scientist/boyfriend Tom (Scott Peters; later in THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN) for suggesting aliens are to blame. While the young duo is out with another couple Tom picks up static on his portable radio which is caused by a generator used by the aliens. He tells his colleagues back at the lab but they couldn't care less. Meanwhile the alien duo shoot down a few more rockets. Later Sally and Tom go on picnic with their two friends. They decide to follow the static again and their friends are soon kidnapped and drugged. Hauron gets a new arm and chin from his captive. Later Sally and Tom are captured but Tom gets away (leaving Sally behind). He gets help from 2 local police detectives who organize a small posse of scientists (including the German) to invade the cave and save Sally. Somehow they are all captured and the aliens head for their planet via some kind of transport machine. After legit science babble the group causes an explosion that frees them and destroys the invaders….or does it? 

This cheap science fiction junk was written and directed by Phil Tucker, the man behind the “classic” ROBOT MONSTER! Though the real Cape Canaveral is in Florida this was shot in California. Some scenes were filmed at the famous Bronson Canyon where years before Tucker had shot RM! There is some debate on whether it ever played theatrically.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Bava


KILL BABY... KILL-1966-Dr. Paul Eswai (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart; in WAR OF THE PLANETS the same year) goes to a small village to perform an autopsy after being called in by Karl, the burgomaster (Max Lawrence). The place seems to be under a curse after a young girl died. Her ghost comes back periodically and anyone who sees her dies by bleeding to death. Eswai and a local woman (Erika Blanc) investigate. 

Wonderfully crazy Gothic horror from the master Mario Bava, WHO MADE DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE GIRL BOMBS the same year. Great sets, lighting and suspense. Lead actress Erika Blanc was later in the horror films THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF HER GRAVE and THE DEVIL'S NIGHTMARE. 

Nice movie... terrible title…

Thanks for reading!

Milligan Meltdown



THE BODY BENEATH-1970-Ok, I admit this is the first Andy Milligan movie I've ever seen. It was filmed in England where writer/director Milligan lived for a time and though the title sounds like it's porno it's really about some decadent vampires who dwell in a graveyard and their leader who pretends to be a minister and lives with his very quiet wife next door in Carfax Abbey! 

He's worried the bloodline is dying out so he has his mistreated hunchback servant Spool (Berwick Kaler) and three ghoul faced female vampires kidnap some local women. But later he decides they should all move to America. It's mainly a lot of talk with one quick scene of a maid being stabbed in the eyes. The acting is like something out of a movie from the early '30's.

 Somehow Milligan made 4 other movies in 1970 including GURU-THE MAD MONK and BLOODTHIRSTY BUTCHERS. One actor Colin Gordon was a very busy character actor in England at the time this was filmed. Earlier he had played No. 2 in two episodes of THE PRISONER!

Thanks for reading!